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An Italian Easter, Getting Ready for an Easter Bread Morning

Posted in Abruzzo, Caro Diario.(dear diary..), Country House Living, cucina, cucina povere, desserts, Holidays, L'Aquila, La Dolce Vita, recipes, Rome, slow food, special occasions, Tagliacozzo, the Mediterranean diet, and Travel & customs

 

copyright 2014 art of living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

Colorful  Easter eggs and breads of all shapes,sizes and flavors add to the festive sights and sounds of the Holiday here  …..but…

While most children were awakened on Easter morning with thoughts of seeing an Easter basket filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, I was always  awakened by the odor of fresh baking bread (Easter bread that is)..an aroma that would make its’ way throughout the house and up to  my room .. waking me up and ’calling me’ to the kitchen table… the sight of this bread sprinkled with brightly colored sprinkles and   multi-colored Easter eggs always added an extra festive touch to the day.  You can choose to add I nthe colored sprinkles and colored Easter eggs or go ‘au naturelle’ with brown eggs.

Traditionally shaped in a wreath form or “corona di nove”, some bake theirs in the form of rabbits or fancy Easter baskets….any way you make them  they are a  special tradition to be experienced…..

 

Easter Bread (Pane di Pasqua)

 

Lightly butter a 15 1/2” x 12 inch baking sheet

Dip 5 eggs (uncooked) in food dyes, choose at least two or three different colors to make a colorful presentation. Let eggs dry and set aside. Or use uncolored  brown eggs for a rustic look.

Soften 2 packages of active dry yeast

in 1/2 cup (100 gr) warm water (110F-115F degrees or 55C)

Let yeast stand 5-10 minutes

Meanwhile pour into a large bowl

1/2 cup (100 gr) warm water

Blend in 1/ 1/2 cups (460 gr) sifted flour

Stir softened yeast and add to flour-water mixture, mixing well. Beat until very smooth. cover bowl with waxed paper and towel and let stand in warm place (80F or 40C degrees) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Cream until butter is softened

3/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

Add gradually, creaming until fluffy after each addition a mixture of

1 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

Beat until thick and piled softly

2 eggs

1 egg white

Add beaten eggs in thirds to sugar mixture, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add yeast mixture mixing well.

Measure

4 1/2  cups sifted flour

Add about one half the flour to yeast mixture and beat until very smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface

Select a deep bowl just large enough to allow dough to double in size. Shape dough into a smooth ball and place into greased bowl. Turn dough to bring greased surface to top. Cover bowl with waxed paper and towel and let dough rise until doubled in size (1 1/2 to 2 hours)

Punch dough with fist. divide dough into two equal balls. Let stand covered for 10 minutes. Roll each ball out into a long roll about 36” (18cm) long and 1 to 1 1/2 inches (.5 cm) thick.

Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Place on prepared baking sheet.. Place colored eggs into spaces on braid. Cover loosely with towel. Set dough aside in a warm place till doubled.

Bake at 350 F (180 C) degrees for 10 minutes.

Brush bread with a mixture of

1 egg yolk

1 tsp (5 gr) milk

Sprinkle with multi colored sprinkles. Bake 40 –45 minutes or until bread is a golden brown on top.Remove from oven and let cool. (Colored eggs will be hard cooked from baking)

For more great recipes get your copy of the award winning The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

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JOIN ME on May 10th to Cook Authentic Tuscan Cuisine..Join me at the Culinary Center at Montgomery County Community College  for a lesson, 5 course authentic Tuscan meal and wine sampling….Attendees will also receive a copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking DaVinci Style ($24.95 value)  Class size Limited, reservations required.  For registration or more info call the Culinary center at  215-641-6486215-641-6486  or visit their site at  http://www3.mc3.edu/culinary/non-degree-courses.html

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